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OPSEU president urges all-party support for transparency bill


Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on MPPs of all stripes to support Bill 167, the Transparency and Accountability in Government Contracting Act, 2016, which New Democrat Catherine Fife introduced in the legislature on February 23. It will be debated at Second Reading on March 3.

“The portion of the provincial budget spent on public services is already subjected to extensive scrutiny,” Thomas said today. “In contrast, the part of the budget paid to private service providers, contractors and financiers remains shrouded in mystery.

“Bill 167 would lift the veil on privatization and prevent a lot of costly problems before they happen.”

If passed, Bill 167 would:

  • give the public the right to know of privatization initiatives and know the details of those initiatives before contracts are signed;
  • give new responsibilities to the Financial Accountability Officer to review privatization plans, and reject or recommend them, based on the evidence; and
  • give public employees and other stakeholders the right to comment on privatization plans.

“Ontarians overwhelmingly support the right to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent,” said Thomas. “They want to know who’s being paid how much, and they want proof they’re getting good value. That’s why there’s got to be transparency in government contracting.”

A recent poll Vector Research poll found that 90 per cent of Ontarians feel the public’s right to know is more important than protecting the privacy of the private sector.

“Two years ago,” said Thomas, “Premier Wynne said she was putting the province on track to becoming the most transparent government in Canada. What the Liberals do with Bill 167 will test how serious they really are about transparency and accountability.

“Supporting the bill at Second Reading and referring it to committee would send the right message to the voters of Ontario.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931

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